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Chef

Chefs prepare, cook and present food in hotels, bars and restaurants.

Potential salary
£13,000 to £50,000
Working hours
40 to 45 a week
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on your role, but may include:

  • preparing attractive menus to nutritional standards
  • controlling and ordering stock and inspecting it on delivery
  • gutting and preparing animals and fish for cooking
  • scraping and washing large quantities of vegetables and salads
  • cooking and presenting food creatively
  • monitoring production to maintain quality and consistent portion sizes
  • working under pressure to make sure food is served on time
  • keeping to hygiene, health and safety and licensing rules

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work at a restaurant, in an NHS or private hospital, at a school, at a college or on a cruise ship.

Your working environment may be hot, physically demanding and humid.

With experience, you could progress to section chef (station chef) and look after a particular area like desserts. The next step is sous chef, running an entire kitchen when the head chef is busy.

As head chef (also known as chef de cuisine), you'll run a kitchen, create menus and manage the budget.

You could move into the business side by taking a foundation degree or degree in hospitality management.

Very large establishments have executive chefs, usually in charge of multiple outlets. This is a management role and you would do very little cooking.

Another option is to train as a teacher or assessor working for a college or training provider.

You can find out more about how to become a chef from the Hospitality Guild and CareerScope.

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